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Boogertman + Partners used BIM for fast and efficient redevelopment and expansion of the Fourways Mall in South Africa!

Boogertman+Partners (B+P) transitioned from using CAD to BIM in its design workflows to develop a master plan for the redevelopment of the Fourways Mall in South Africa and also improve productivity, efficiency and collaborative working.

Redevelopment and Expansion of South Africa’s Fourways Mall

The Fourways Mall, one of the largest malls in Johannesburg, South Africa, built 23 years ago, forms a part of the long-term future development envisioned for the Fourways and Douglasdale precincts of Johannesburg.  Azrapat, the client, contracted B+P to redevelop and expand the old and new portions of this mall from 90,000 square meters to 1,70,000 square meters; this would help ensure a smooth flow of customers and provide them with a seamless shopping experience. The expansion, in particular, was aimed at connecting the Fourways Mall with Fourways Game – a game farm in the Fourways precinct, and Fourways View – an upcoming residential hub in the precinct.

Project Scope

The redevelopment and expansion plans of the mall were to be carried out in two phases, of which Phase 1 – the redevelopment of certain areas and upgrades to the existing mall – was completed in 2018. Phase 2 of the project was completed in 2019. It included expansion of the mall layout, such as, addition of office spaces, creation of additional parking spaces (to include 7500 cars), and construction of flyover bridges off William Nicol Drive and Witkoppen Road to provide direct access to customers to the mall’s parking in the shortest possible timeframe. Additionally, Phase 2 also included significant road upgrades around the mall and the demolition and reinstating of a neighboring petrol station.

Full Lifecycle BIM for Mall Redevelopment

Major Challenges

The geotechnical challenges of the project site – inclusive of uneven groundwater conditions and an unpredictable rock profile (loosening and sliding of the rocks) – also had to be considered during the conceptual design and construction phase of the project. Thus, to finalize the conceptual design, the stakeholders had to take into account both the external and internal designs of the mall and map the existing underground surface to address the geotechnical challenges using 3D earth modeling systems and subsurface information modeling systems.

Figure 1: Revit model of the Fourways Mall development, showing the existing and new components | Source: Autodesk

The Fourways Mall Master Plan: Technology Adoption

Boogertman+Partners (B+P) developed the Master Plan for Fourways Mall using drones and, as mentioned earlier, by transitioning from CAD to BIM software, that is, from 2D drawings to 3D modeling.

B+P used drones to map the existing mall infrastructure to identify the extent of work required to redevelop the buildings that were already there. The drones also helped to identify and chart the potential pathway to expanding the mall layout and designing how it would connect to Fourways Game and Fourways View. The data collected from drones was further integrated into the BIM model to optimize the complex construction process and leverage the full benefits of a BIM workflow in the project lifecycle. For this purpose, and for design, development and services coordination, B+P transitioned from AutoCAD to Autodesk Revit and Navisworks. B+P made extensive use of Autodesk’s Revit (BIM 360) and Navisworks software to develop a human-centric design of the Fourways Mall. They did so by integrating data from drones and other BIM software to analyse aggregated data models at a faster speed, perform clash detections to resolve issues in the design phase, and to conduct design and construction simulations to visually understand the expansion methods and models of the project.

For services coordination in particular, B+P collaborated with WSP Civils, the civil and structural engineers of the project. Since all stakeholders — including architects, engineers, contractors and service organizations — could not be in the same room or on the project site at the same time, the stakeholders used BIM 360 glue to collaborate easily with each other on a Cloud platform, in a Common Data Environment (CDE), to resolve and fix issues in real-time. The primary benefit of working in a Common Data Environment created by BIM 360 was that the workflow process knowledge was ‘common’ across all teams; this ensured consistency in documentation preparation and during decision making processes of the project lifecycle.

Figure 1: Early implementation of BIM 360 | Source: Autodesk

Benefits of Using BIM in Full Lifecycle

The early implementation of BIM 360 allowed the stakeholders to coordinate, communicate and share information reliably and accurately and make informed decisions and update the models. Using BIM 360, B+P were able to detect clashes, mostly in real-time, to ensure that the old and the new construction fit exactly and, if required, resolve the clashes and fix the errors. The use of BIM resulted in time and cost efficiency as only 11 people were working on the project; collaboration in a Common Data Environment (CDE) saved the stakeholders about 15 percent time in Phase-I of the project. Using Autodesk’s AEC collection, the project gained momentum and progressed in a simplified and integrated manner from concept through design and construction.

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